OneFoodTeam Blog

Blog posts on FSMA, Project Management, Compliance, Packaging, Processing, Reliability and more.

Sabotage - your boss's boss has already torpedoed your project.

pliers-1031982_640.small

How can it be that your boss's boss has sabotaged your project?  It happens with too much frequency, and it can happen even before you have been assigned to the project.

 I started thinking about this when I saw a reader's comment on one of my previous blogs discussing project challenges:

 Another big (challenge) I face is "sponsors that are not aligned to scope. Also a charter that has many items misrepresented or wording that leaves too much room for misinterpretation."

The problem with sponsors that aren't aligned, and vague and ambiguous charters is common, they are related, and they can be overcome with the same techniques.

We don't want to think that the boss is purposely torpedoing our project.  That may be true in rare cases.  But what are the four most common causes of unintentional sabatoge?

Continue reading
  349 Hits
  0 Comments
349 Hits
0 Comments

3 Pitfalls Sure to Put Your Project in Crisis

crisis-1276276_640

We sometimes are called upon to "rescue" a failed project.  While there are many reasons which can lead to a project needing to be rescued, these three are frequent offenders.  You know the sad thing?  They are all preventable.

In the three cases I will discuss, project failure isn't some abstract concept known only after the fact.  You see it coming, with a sense of impending doom as your project is caught in a landslide, hurtling toward a cliff.  That is the common theme of these problems; you come to realize you are in trouble, but it is too late to do much of anything about it but watch.

Another common theme is how pitfalls unfold.  Your project looks ok, looks ok, looks a little behind, oh no - big trouble!

1.  Understimating the complexity and scope

This pitfall unfolds as your project progresses, and you continue to find little things that are needed, but were not planned.  Most are minor gaps in the scope you defined, but as they occur and accumulate you get further and further behind.

At the conceptual stage, and even sometimes at the approval stage, the big outlines of the project are known and understood.  But the details haven't been established, and missing a small but critical detail can derail any project.

Before the project is approved, if possible, and at the least immediately after the project is approved, there should be a diligent scope-defining exercise.  This should drill down to individual tasks and needs, and so far as possible, into the construction sequence.

Without this diligence, all the little details will get done.  But they will get done when you realize the need which may be too late to keep your project on track.

With most of the little details defined up front, you can prepare for them, sequence the work, track them, and insure they don't slow down your project.  And you can focus on the few that you missed.

Continue reading
  721 Hits
  0 Comments
721 Hits
0 Comments

Work like it is your last day

Timepieces-Royalty-Free

We've heard a similar adage about living our life like it is our last day.  But what about work?  What is the value of a work day? 

Imagine this, you are near the end of your project, right where you go from construction to testing, or when you finish testing and begining production.  Every day, every hour is important!  Work is urgent!  There is no time to loiter.  

But what about the beginning of the project?  Was there a decision that took a month, which should have taken a week.  Did you lose .a week somewhere when a key person was on vacation?  Excess time for some approval?

Why are those days valued less, what problems does that cause, and how do you prevent it?

In my experience on projects, we do NOT treat every day as though it has the same value.  We should!  The failure to understand the value of each day leads directly to the failure of many projects.  Here's how that happens:

Continue reading
  1158 Hits
  0 Comments
1158 Hits
0 Comments

Training (or not) for Sustainability

There are many ways to measure the success of a project: Was the project completed on time? Did it come in on or under budget? Was the expected throughput or volume achieved? Are the results sustainable? There will be more specific success requirements listed each individual project’s success criteria but the ones listed above will pertain to every project.

As a Startup Manager, emphasis is typically placed on timeliness, budget, and initial throughput. These are very important but the Company’s Return On Investment (ROI) is vested in the two or three year sustainability of the throughput of the project. Therefore the project’s final success also rests on sustainability.

Sustainability is dependent on two factors: the quality of the equipment purchased and the ability of the personnel to operate and maintain the equipment in the correct manner. The Startup Manager typically has little to no input on the equipment design or which equipment was selected. Their responsibility concerning the equipment is the proper installation and testing of the equipment. Their responsibility however does encompass the training of the operators and maintenance personnel to ensure they have knowledge and ability to operate and maintain the equipment.

In the area of training, the Startup Manager’s responsibilities include:

Continue reading
  1419 Hits
  0 Comments
1419 Hits
0 Comments

Do you need to schedule snow days in Florida?

snowman-on-beach-1927360_640

I grew up in central Florida, where snow was rare. When it happens, it usually means a few small flakes. But now I live in Dallas, Texas where we have been hunkered down for four days after ice and sleet closed our roads. (If you are from “up north” where you have real winter storms, don’t laugh just yet, but hang with me while I make a point).

This local article was talking about the lingering effects of the storm including anticipated potholes:  http://ireader.olivesoftware.com/Olive/iReader/StarTelegramPress/SharedArticle.ashx?document=FWST%5C2013%5C12%5C10&article=Ar00702.

The article also answered questions about potential construction delays on major road projects in the area, since no work has been done for several days.

 

Of course there is no overall schedule impact because the schedule has “snow days” built in, to accommodate for some reasonable amount of bad weather. So far we have had fewer bad weather days than anticipated, and these projects are on schedule if not slightly ahead.

But what about construction in Florida? What about installing a new production line inside a factory in Nevada? What about a new product rollout in New Mexico? Do those projects need to schedule “snow days?”

Continue reading
  3141 Hits
  0 Comments
3141 Hits
0 Comments

Most Popular Blogs

The proposed FSMA rule for intentional contamination uses the phrase "a person knowledgeable about food defense" in several places. What it doesn't tell you is how to choose a consultant (internal or ...
17487 Hits
Missing from the proposed FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) rule on intentional contamination is any requirement for "broad mitigation strategies."  In this article we will explore the implica...
17183 Hits
The FSMA proposed rule on intentional contamination provides two ways to determine what are called "actionable process steps."  This is a facility and process-specific "point, step or procedure" ...
16866 Hits
In Part 1 of this blog we discussed the first of two approaches for determining "actionable process steps."  This is a facility-specific "point, step, or procedure" in a food process where there ...
15888 Hits
People that have been working with Food Defense will notice some things that they have previously focused on that are missing from the proposed rule for intentional contamination. In this post we will...
15462 Hits